Police didn’t get the name of a pedestrian they think ran to an accident scene Wednesday and pulled the driver from the window of a car that dangled over the lip of Lewiston’s Bryden Canyon in Idaho.
The unidentified man may have saved the life of 23-year-old Mathew Sitko, whose 2000 GMC Yukon was heading south at approximately 8 a.m. near the 2900 block of Mayfair Drive when it left the road, drove through a yard and over two terraces before getting snared in a chain-link fence that prevented it from crashing into the canyon.
That’s when the unidentified man appeared, pulled Sitko from the car, and left the scene as police arrived.
“He said he had to go, and he left,” Lewiston police officer Eric Olson said.
Witnesses told police Sitko was allegedly driving fast and erratically, and almost struck a motorist as his Yukon sped south on Mayfair Drive, a residential street that makes a loop above and east of Bryden Canyon.
The dark-colored SUV gradually veered off the street’s right side and plowed through shrubbery in a yard before striking a cottonwood tree that catapulted over the edge of the canyon onto Bryden Canyon Road — a four-lane thoroughfare that connects Snake River Avenue with the Lewiston Orchards. Road crews were called by a passing motorist to remove the tree.
As the Yukon’s front end hung over the canyon’s sheer edge, the man appeared, broke the vehicle’s passenger-side window with a rock and removed Sitko by dragging him through the opening.
“The mesh was the only thing holding (the Yukon),” Olson said.
The chain-link fence that spans the side of the cliff wall was stretched approximately 40 feet from the Yukon’s impact, he said.
Sitko, who lives in the neighborhood, suffered minor injuries, Olson said.
“Investigation showed some type of mental episode may have been responsible for the collision,” Olson said.
Sitko was transported to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. No citations were issued at the scene. Police continue to investigate the crash.